Darius Williams captivates us with his dynamic storytelling and Afrocentric gather-round the table recipes, which transports us to our past. When life was simple and days were long, food was made from scratch and family was everything. His recipe book, “Stories From my Grandmother’s Kitchen” does not disappoint on any level. It leaves you hungry and ready to devour the deliciousness this book presents while simultaneously leaving you emotionally full. It will have you reminiscing your youth while anxious to start planning your next dinner party.
Darius stays true to his philosophy of keeping it “simple, easy and delicious!” He has given us foolproof recipes that a novice cook or sous chef can appreciate. He takes the time to teach and define foundational cooking terms and methods, which is super helpful for post-cooking bragging and social media hash tagging. Each recipe comes with a “note,” which is a hint or advice, on how to take it up a notch taste-wise or how to add your own spin to the dish. Cool thing about these recipes is that they create dishes with ingredients, textures and flavors we are familiar with and then they are presented in a fun, innovative way that makes you want to immediately start cooking and tasting. Recipes like collard greens & artichoke fondue or collard green pesto with roasted tomatoes let you know this is not just any cookbook. The butter pecan cornbread with honey butter or the cornbread cupcakes with mashed potato frosting topped with fried chicken and drizzled with hot sauce … Woo Wee, its like a hipsters guide to soul food for dummies!
You would think with so many great recipes to choose from, it would be hard to have a favorite. Yet, I managed to pick a couple of recipes like the New Orleans styled red beans & rice and the ultimate baked mac & cheese. Those two shortcut recipes to southern classics are a must-have for any cook’s arsenal. Don’t get it twisted, this cookbook is not all savory. Brother Darius did not forget about our sweet tooth. There are dessert recipes for cakes, tarts, cookies, brownies, puddings, cheesecake and cobblers. My favorite dessert recipe is the peach cobbler shortcake with whipped mascarpone cheese! The cinnamon flavored fresh peach cobbler filling covered with the tangy and creamy goodness of whipped mascarpone that’s sandwiched between a buttery biscuit was literally beyond delicious. It was lick-your-plate, don’t-leave-one-crumb-or-drop good…. Straight bomb!
Darius Williams is an artist both in the kitchen and with the written word. My soul smiled incessantly while reading this book, because Darius Williams did more than give us a book of magic recipes that turn you into a dining diva. He has given us a time machine that takes you back to when you were too young to know how good you had it. Back to your Nana, or your Granny, or your Big Mama, or your Gigi’s kitchen. Back to when ancestral seeds were sewn and cultivated, shaping who we are today. His book takes you back to a time when Sunday dinner as a family was life.